TVGROOVE interviewed Lady Gaga about her upcoming album Chromatica, which is set to be released this Friday, May 29. Read the interview below:
A lot happened in your life, in America and the world in general over the last few years. When you embarked on Chromatica, what was the head space you were in emotionally?
"When I started working on Cromatica I was in a very dark place, not necessarily because of the current situation of the world, or the American politics. I was working every day, but it was thanks to the compassion of my friends that I work with. They said, "come, let's compose together, you can do it." I was able to make this album because they believed in me. And what healed me was that when I listened to the songs we recorded after, I could hear the happiness in my voice. The lyrics are a poem about my life. They were difficult to sing, but at the same time, I was thinking about the world and how I could make people happy. I believe that is my mission. I believe I am here to make people happy."
You moved away from pop music with your 2013 album "ARTPOP" and since then, you have released a duet album with Tony Bennett, Cheek to Cheek, your last solo record Joanne, and the movie A Star Is Born. You sound seemed to be more organic and stripped down. Why did you decide to make pop music after such a long time?
"I made myself go back to pop. I began to create and write things that I haven't felt in my heart and mind in a long time. And that's what I wanted to make, and I was surprised it came out when I was in so much pain. I wrote songs in this album to dance away the pain. Every time I wrote and produced, and listened to many of the songs I made, I thought, "oh my voice sounds happy, I'm still happy. There must be something left." When I finally felt the album was complete, I decided to call it "Chromatica." That is where I am now. I'm in a happy place. I'm so thankful to the people around me. I'm deeply grateful to be alive, my creativity and my voice in this world. And now, I'm focused on spreading compassion to the world. ''
You've talked about it a little bit now, but what is the theme of "Chromatica" and what message do you want to convey through this album? Can you please tell us why you chose this title?
"The album title "Chromatica" (color, chromatic scale) is inspired by the fact that every person is different, first and foremost in color, race and religion. People different in terms of their individuality, gender identity, and sexuality. We are very colorful in various ways, but also in terms of music. In an octave, there's a chromatic scale, which means that the sounds go up in semitone steps. The sounds in music are very close to each other, but also very different. I thought it would be interesting to think of it as a very close relationship, that is, we are very different from each other yet very similar in many ways. There are many conflicts in the world, a lot of negative things, hate, war, or illness. With this album we wondered how we could heal one another and how we could survive. I believe that compassion frees us, and that compassion never fails."
This time you co-wrote the song Rain on Me with Ariana Grande. What is the history? How did you collaborate with Ariana and what does the music video look like?
“I love Ariana. I want the music video to be surprise, I don't want to give anything away just yet. But Ariana and I really connected. We discussed our life experiences, our traumas. We both had a lot of difficulties in the past. We share a mutual respect for each other's experiences and strengths. In the song we sing, "I'd rather be dry but at least I'm alive, rain on me", to emphasize that crying might be seen as a sign of weakness but all the tears we shed eventually make us stronger. We can stand in the rain, in tears, and still feel powerful and empowered. I really want to use my voice in this world to help others. And your tears don't make you weak, but rather make you stronger, I want you to know. Like the weather. Like rain. Sometimes it's a storm.''
This time, you also co-wrote a song called Sour Candy with BLACKPINK. What was the history of this as well? How did you collaborate with them?
“When I called them and asked if they wanted to write a song with me, they were so happy and motivated. It was a really exciting collaboration. I wanted to celebrate them because I love powerful women like them, and they also wanted to celebrate me as well. We had a great time together with this song. I was excited to hear them interpret the song in Korean. It ended up being very creative and fun. I was in awe when I heard their singing voice. I'm proud to be the fifth member of BLACKPINCK (in this song)."
Despite your fibromyalgia, you performed such a violent dance routine in the Stupid Love music video. Did you have any hardships or distress?
"During shooting? Yeah, I was in a lot of pain. But I danced all the way through. And I had the best dancers around me to support me My friends were there, the director was great, and honestly, I basically accepted that I have a chronic pain illness. It's not easy, but I can still dance, I can perform, and some people can't do that. It really helps me and keeps me grateful. My fans in Japan are really strong and enjoy life in a very unique and beautiful way. Every time we meet, they make me very happy, so I'm looking forward to meeting my Japanese fans again."
In the music video for Stupid Love, you're wearing a pink outfit, which looks very much inspired from a manga series we have here in Japan called Sailor Moon (especially Sailor Chibi Moon). What do you think about this? This is it (shows the picture).
"Isn't this child Sailor Moon's sister?"
Yes, this is Sailor Mini Moon (Sailor Chibi Moon).
"I was inspired by anime when we made this video. Because the producer BloodPop gave me an anime toy when I was sad in the studio to cheer me up. To celebrate what my friends did to make me smile as well as the Japanese culture, I thought it would be awesome if I could reflect this artistic expression in my music. He brought a figure of Bayonetta to the studio, and a stuffed toy (Korilakkuma) too. It made me realize I was loved, and that was reflected in this video. I tried to celebrate some aspects of Japanese and Asian culture. I want people to know that I tried to pay homage to the culture with utmost respect, because it really made me smile."
Your last visit to Japan was for the promotion of "Joanne" in October 2016. Is there anywhere you would like to return in Japan after a long time?
"Where do I want to go in Japan? I want to perform in stadiums for my Japanese fans. I want to take my new tour "Chromatica Ball" to Japan. I just want to walk around, especially in Tokyo. As I said, I was really happy to get a nice gift from my friend that reflected the Japanese culture while making this album. I love the Japanese culture and I love my Japanese fans. I'm always happy to be there, and maybe I'm more sober in Japan than everyone imagines. I'm just happy being in Japan, that's why."
"Free Woman" is a wonderful song that empowers people. Compared to about 10 years ago when you made your debut, I think that the world has become more positive about the active expression of women. You seem to have been at the forefront of the movement since your debut, but what do you think about the changes in the world?
"Thank you so much for saying that. It's very kind. I've always been trying to be a role model for people. I didn't want to obey the stereotypes that women were told to conform. I always say that what matters is our heart and intelligence, and that's what we must offer to the world. When I was younger in the industry, I was often seen as an object by the men I worked with. It was very difficult to work in the same room while people sexualize every little thing you do. As a woman, I was uncomfortable. The difference between that time and now is that standing up for yourself was not socially accepted. I use my sexuality in the ways I want to and when I want to. I'm free. I'm a woman, that's my right. And I think that applies to all sexes, not just women, and gender identities. What changed is that when I say it, it's no longer shocking. In the old days, when I said, "I don't want to do that," I was opposed and yelled at because I came off strong. I don't think it's good to say that women who stand up for themselves are not good people. There's nothing wrong with standing up for yourself, it's a great quality.''
Also, what would you like to convey to women who have the feeling that they cannot express themselves freely, but can't in the eyes of the others?
"It's important to respect yourself, to be kind to yourself. Then maybe you will slowly feel like you're free. I often wondered how the world looked at me. People always wanted me to be "Gaga", but I continued to show courage step by step. I'll eventually find myself to be very brave. I think women are so brave, and I think everyone is so brave. We are full of bravery. But we should also encourage each other more, and encourage ourselves. It is one of the bravest things to say that you want to be free. You need to get out of this prison. When you feel like you're locked up, remember that you have the key to it. There's plenty of room between the bars, you can reach out, unlock the door from the outside, open it, and release yourself from the prison. I think I finally have that ability. I may have to overcome the fear, but it's okay to be afraid and it takes time. I took a long time. "
In recent years, you have appeared in the TV drama "American Horror Story: Hotel" and the movie "A Star Is Born." as Ally. You showed an extraordinary talent as an actor, but tell me, do you have a preference? Music or film?
“Music is one of the most powerful things in the world. Music is something I have and I can share with the world. Acting is something I also have and can share, and so is philanthrophy. I don't think music is better than anything else, I don't think acting is better than anything else. What we all offer is equally important. I always say, no one thing is greater than the other in Chromatica. So if you ask, is music powerful? The answer is yes. But what's really powerful is that all of us have different qualities to share and offer to the world with compassion. I think it's as powerful as music. So I hope that I can inspire people through my music. That's what I have to offer. ''
The album has not been released yet, but please tell us about the visual concept of this work. I also use a lot of pink. What does this color mean to you?
"I was attracted to pink for "Chromatica" because I always saw it as powerful color. It's a caring color. It reminds me of the womb, and women. I connect women and the color pink in many ways. John Lennon used to say about Yoko Ono: "She has the wisdom that men don't have." But I think all sexes have wisdom. So I was attracted to pink in the sense that I was very inspired by women and the womb, and the concepts of creation and birth. But I hope pink will be a color that all genders can identify with. I think it's a compassionate, happy color. It's a color that reminds us we are here on Earth to love and support one another.''
What is your message to the Japanese Little Monsters?
"My dear Japanese fans, I really love you! I've always had a special connection with you. For the last 10 years, we have been really beautiful. We've spent so much time together and I'm really thankful to ave you in my life. I can't wait to perform for you, and make new memories with you. I am looking forward to inspiring you with as much compassion and courage as I can, and in turn be inspired by you. I want to do charity in Japan too, because I love the country and I want to do good things for its people.''
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